I have been to this event before and it was my intention to go this year with my wife and our grandchildren but sadly it was not to be.
On the previous occasion when we went we purchased tickets to the Gold Enclosure which included a parking permit which they said was exclusive for the Gold Enclosure, as we were going in the 1947 Bentley. I was going to end the sentence with; going in the 1947 Bentley of which I am a little precious, but I am concerned as to the well-being of all my cars and I thought I should clarify the sentence as it is relevant later in the story.
This year we became Premium Family Members, two adults and two children at a cost of £115.00 which we thought might be useful as we wanted to have access to the Premium Members Enclosure which had it's own cafe and seemed to offer a more exclusive way to attend the event.
We still however had to purchase entry tickets at £29.50 each although the kids went free as they were under 15 and a parking permit at £5.00, so a total outlay of £179.00 in total for the day.
The weather had been awful on the morning of the event so we left later in the hope of it clearing, unfortunately we weren't the only ones with this idea as upon arriving we were stuck in a traffic jam for 1 hour before getting near the entrance. Finally we arrived at the usual Duxford entrance and having seen no signs for the Members Car Park I followed the signs to VIP and enclosure where I enquired where the Members Car Park might be. I was instructed to follow the normal car park signs to where they alleged I would find the Members Car Park, but still no signs. Finally we followed the parking sign into a muddy field where I asked again where the Members Car Park might be.
Now you can call me a sceptical old bugger if you like but by now I was beginning to think that there was no such thing as a Members Car Park, however I was informed by the man on the gate that the Members Car Park was full and to follow everyone else into the muddy field, I declined his offer, turned round and left.
I have severe doubts as to the existence of a Members Car Park due to the lack of signage, but even if there were one, surely it should have been on hard standing and large enough to accommodate all the Members who might attend.
Luckily as the weather was inclement I chose to go in my Jaguar which is more modern and better suited to the weather but still not a car I want to get caked in mud in a field. (See above explaining my concern for all my cars.) Obviously my mistake was to assume that like the Gold Enclosure with it's designated car park, the Members Enclosure would also have a suitable car park.
I know I leave myself open to being called a frightful snob and that we should have roughed it and thought no more of the matter but I feel this is a typical example of the British ability to spoil a ship for a ha'peth of tar. Had there been a proper Members car park we would have entered and braved the weather and no doubt had a very enjoyable time but we didn't get the chance.
The worst thing is that my grandchildren missed out on an event that they may not get the opportunity to see again, unless someone else takes them, for at the moment it is very unlikely I shall endeavour to go again. Such a shame, it could have been such a splendid ship!